This issue touched on every mainstay story. It’s interesting to see how Countdown is finally taking shape, and reflecting bits and pieces of the current DCU like it’s supposed to.
Trickster and Piper: The more this story continues (the Rogues killing Bart) the more gravitas it gives the whole thing. These guys make a cute couple and its equal parts amusing and desperate. As I said a week or two ago, the Rogues aren’t really the murderin’ type. Among other things, this week highlights that.
Jimmy Olsen: Continues to be cute. Not much really happened here, but it inched the story forward and put it back down. While I think these pages could’ve been better spent, I didn’t feel they were wasted. It had a good chuckle.
Mary Marvel: Another story that inched forward. It flashed Eclipso at the bottom of the page, which presumes the actual "Seduction of the Innocent" part of the story is going to kick off. My alternating trend of hating this story and liking it continues. This week, I liked it.
Challengers of the Unknown: I’d like to think this is going to be my favorite bit in Countdown. I already love Donna; I like the new Atom, Ryan; and Jason Todd is made more tolerable by the company he keeps. More specifically, I don’t like Jason (yet?), but I like not liking him next to Donna. I can't explain it any better than that.
Plus he makes a funny.
An Oldie but Goodie
We’ll see if I sing a different tune when Kyle Rayner shows up.
Holly Robinson: So… does Amazons Attack matter now or something? Please? Maybe? Again, the real problem with Countdown, is the timing. The internment camps storyline in AA is already further along than this. This could’ve been shown earlier in the series by trimming out some dead-weight pages in previous weeks. Regardless, Holly and Harley just might rival Trickster and Piper as the cutest couple in Countdown.
Karate Kid: So, wait, last we saw Karate Kid, Batman was telling him to go F himself. I naturally presumed that was after KK got stuck in the present. But then in this issue he’s getting stuck in the present and picks up Starsky to his Hutch, Triplicate Girl. I'm so confused sometimes.
Weird timing aside, that’s pretty cool and I’m interested in where it’s going. Maybe an internal timeline would help. Like, as they introduce each character/story per issue they could give the old “*this happens before JLA #10” I think that would be just enough to shut me up. It's unrealistic to be 100% with the amount of moving parts Countdown tries to fit in, but it bugs my need for perfection. It's unfair of me to ask them to do better, when it's already pretty amazing what they're trying to do.
Una here used to be the Silver Age Triplicate Girl. Then she lost one of her... sister selves and became Duo Damsel. Then she lost another of her sister selves, hence Una. Apparently somebody also stole her neck. Talk about a bad year.
Marty’s Pick of the Week
All Flash #1
Bart’s Funeral in Countdown was nice but didn’t really feel right. Trickster and Piper beating feet and lamenting their crime is a fine touch, but they’re more worried about themselves then the fact that they murdered a kid. This issue got it in one.
I got mistier every page. From Batman being the bearer of bad news; to the Rogues collectively freaking out about what they’ve done (and not just Trickster and Piper); then turning on Inertia; through Wally jacking up Inertia with tears streaming behind him; and finally the confirmation/mystery that the Suicide Squad is on the hunt for the murderers, was all perfect. It made me feel Bart’s death more than watching him die. If that makes enough sense.
Waid drives it home on every page: Bart is dead, and people care.
It just keeps breaking my heart. Wally’s pain is palpable.
I love this panel. Batman’s social awkwardness as he crosses that narrow line between business and personal that he hates so bad.
Wally catches up with Inertia and runs him around the world a few times. Then Inertia realizes/reveals that the reason Bart’s powers didn’t go back to Bart is b/c they all went to Wally. He takes a minute to rub that in Wally’s face. Then it gets ugly.
Oh no you di’n’t. Dude, Wally, what’re you gonna do, man? You can’t let him get away with that.
Um, Holy Fuck.
I love when the hero decides he can’t kill the villain b/c that would be crossing the line. So instead he does something infinitely worse, like, torturing the sonuvabitch for ALL time. Jesus Christ, Wally, just end the half-a-clone little bastard. Give me a gun and a ticket to Keystone City, I’ll do it. Nobody would blame me. It’s an act of goddamned mercy.
I’m never sure how this is supposed to read better –or more heroic-- than just cracking the little dude’s neck.
Moving on, this really gave me a case of the “Rad!”s:
So the guys who chained Piper and Trickster together are the Suicide Squad? Nice. That begs the question of what the Squad wants with the Rogues? Recruitment? The last page of Checkmate might have a clue:
Leave it to Amanda Waller to immediately exploit a Villain’s situation by offering him protection in exchange for dirty work. Very dirty work.
We also get a little preview of things to come with a splashpage or two from Acuna (Matata).
Here we see Wally’s kids, Upper-Body Lad and Kid Flash-ette. They apparently will be fighting giant ultradimensional vaginas or something.
That last panel is kind of cool. Is that the batsuit shooting out of the Flash ring? WTF is that about? Can’t wait to find out.
I’d recommend picking up the new Flash series, b/c (fanboy)Waid is awesome(/fanboy).
Birds of Prey #108
Next in line of awesome, is this little diddy. They might as well call this issue: “Watch Spysmasher Get Everything That’s Coming to Her”. This woman was designed to be hated. She doesn’t even get a good moralization in. You have absolutely no pity for her whatsoever.
“Spysmasher, please report to the Principal’s office for your ass beating. Spysmasher, the Principal’s office, for ass beating.”
You know Babs is going to war when she puts on the Bat T-Shirt
How about a bat-punch to your uterus, sister?
I love this comic. And I love any opportunity to watch someone dismiss Babs for being in a wheelchair. Just so she can say, “Yeah, but I’m Batgirl in a wheelchair. Represent.”
Spysmasher limps away vowing revenge and the like. Which just turns into the most page-flippingest rock’n’roll moment of the week.
Power Girl showed up?! Shiva showed up?!!
Awesomest! I love you Dinah.
And to show she’s got class, Dinah even walks Katherine to her chopper. That’s nice. Unfortunately, Ms. Lance is one for long goodbyes.
Wow, that’s pretty hardcore for the acting leader of the Justice League. Surely she’s exaggerating.
I love this comic. Did I mention that already?
Plus it led right into Checkmate #14. Over the last arc the Birds of Prey fought the Secret Six and rescued Tora, the erstwhile and until-recently dead, Ice. In the same week as she’s dropped off in Birds of Prey...
Nice. That just feels good. I love whatever amount of internal coordination went into making this happen. Rucka doesn’t just make a page for this either. It’s a whole C Story.
I hope Ice sticks around Checkmate. It could use a little brightening up. She could go on field missions and be appalled. She does take the string of bad news awfully well.
Awww, thank you, Rucka. Just, thank you for bothering to mention it at all.
The rest of the issue was good too.
Cat Woman #69
Maybe if Cat Woman crosses over with Amazons Attack people will like it more! This is the best thing Amazons Attack did this week, even though Issue #4 came out at the same time. Man, Amazons Attack could really have some juice. It’s staggered release and lack of support in ancillary titles is really hurting it. Pfeiffer to the rescue… sort of. It’s at least interesting and well written.
Plus, it’s filled with such win as this:
Again with the social awkwardness.
”Selina, the adorability of your daughter is uneniable. I find myself oddly driven to nibble her widdle toesies as we speak. But we don’t have time for that right now.”
Selina, however, is sure Bats is there for another purpose entirely. A little something about having the stones to kill his last partner’s killer.
Rump-Thump, Rump-Thump, the Telltale Heart tolls.
Luckily, Bruce remains oblivious or is otherwise chosing to look the other way on that issue. No, he’s here to get her to go undercover into an Amazon splinter faction called the Bana. He doesn’t want to talk about it here, so he drives her and Helena back to the cave.
That’s an excellent question. God that man really is prepared for anything.
It was cute all over and setup some action. Next issue should start with kicking ass and end with taking names. Totally worth the money every month.
My last word on Cat Woman pertains to how awesome Alfred is. He’s one of the reasons I’m glad time never moves forward in comics.
What would the DCU do without you old bean?
Marty’s Other Pick of The Week: Electric Boogaloo
Shazam and the Monster Society #4
God this was adorable. Jeff Smith better be making another one and soon. And forever after that. The art is adorable, the characterization is adorable, just everything about it needs its cheeks pinched.
Plus it has an essential factor to retelling the Captain Marvel myth: Billy Batson is a heroic little kid.
His ubiquitous good nature survived some ignoble insects from ignoble fates and he lives to reap the reward. This was just so random and perfect. I checked back and sure enough, Billy makes a point to save a cockroach and some ants in previous issues. Nice one, Smith.
Caught on tape: Dick Cheney tosses a little girl to her doom.
Okay, that’s not Dick Cheney, it’s Thaddeus Bodog Sivana. Say it with me: Boooooooooodog. He’s as evil as ever, and now he’s an Attorney General. Don’t worry, his uppance will come.
Does this page not just get better and better? And wookit Mary. Wookit her. I’m sorry, she’s adorable as hell.
There’s no way this is allowed to be the last issue of this.
I did read some more stuff, including a third pick of the week that deserves some word count. But I'm screwing around with this more tried and true blog-review format and it took me awhile to teach myself.
Soon enough I'll bring you a wonderful gift: Batman vs. the entire Legion of Superheroes in The Brave and The Bold #5. Who do you think will win?
For now, that's my comics story, and I'm sticking to it.